Raifa... Secured by God... This is how the name of one of the most revered holy places of Tatarstan is translated. The primeval stillness, the inimitable atmosphere of peace and quiet – this is the impression the Raifsky Bogoroditskiy (Raifa Holy Virgin) monastery usually makes on visitors.
The Temple of All Religions is one of the most unusual tourist attractions of Kazan. It is an architectural symbiosis of various religions, civilizations and cultures. This structure, also sometimes called the Universal Temple, or the International Cultural Center of Spiritual Unity, is located in the Staroye Arakchino Microdistrict, right by the side of the Volga River.
The old uyezd (district) town of Chistopol is one of a kind! All architectural landmarks here are located in the two main streets. At the same time, geographically it is in the very center of Tatarstan. The distance from Chistopol to Kazan is 144 kilometers, with 141 km to Naberezhnye Chelny, 586 km to Orenburg and 107 km to Begishevo international airport. The town’s area is 19.24 square kilometers and its population is 60.7 thousand people.
The Volga is the largest river in Europe and it is one of Tatarstan’s most vivid landmarks. First it crosses the Republic from the west to the east but then it changes direction in the proximity of Kazan turning south. Within the Republic the river runs for 177 kilometers. Its width around Kazan is about 1 kilometer, whereas at the offing of the Kama river, in Kuybyshev Reservoir, it is 35 kilometers wide!
There are other big rivers in Tatarstan but most of them are the Volga’s affluents. For instance, the Kama runs for almost 380 kilometers within the Tatarstan territory, the Belaya for about 60, and Vyatka for about 50 km.
From the depths of the centuries come the many legends about the “mother river”, little villages on its shores and old robbers who were on the pad around those parts. One of such stories tells about an argument between the Volga and the Kama about who should be whose tributary. The Kama decided to cheat and dig its way under the Volga. It made an agreement with a kite so that the latter would squawk when the Kama comes out from the other place. However, the kite was noticed by a golden eagle, chased it and made it squawk out of fright! And the Kama was right in the middle of the Volga at that moment – so it rushed from underground and got right into the Volga!
There are towns with many museums, and then there is Yelabuga, which is a whole museum town. Here, at the very heart of Tatarstan, people live surrounded by history, with famous names and legends anywhere they go. Even in the pedestrian street of this town time seems to have stopped. There are no visible features of modern times here. Every building and every brick can tell a story.
On a high coast of the Volga River there is a town of Tetyushi – one of the oldest in Tatarstan. The place is unique: it has a special spirit of the times, a rich collection of museums and its own distinct style! The distance from Tetyushi to the city of Ulyanovsk is 90 km, with 140 km to Kazan and 220 km to Cheboksary. The town’s area is 7.3 sq. km, its population is 11.4 thousand people.
The underwater observatory, sometimes nicknamed as a ‘Mecca for winter swimmers’ and the paradise for fans of extreme diving – those are the famed Blue Lakes of Kazan: The Bolshoye Goluboye (Big Blue) Lake, the Maloye Goluboye (Small Blue) Lake and the Protochnoye (Flowing) Lake. Their total area is 0.3 hectares, their average depth is 1 – 4 meters, but the Big Blue Lake has two potholes with the depths of 8 and 18 meters. The water of these mesmerizingly beautiful lakes is ice-cold all the year round, while also having truly unique properties.
The thaumaturgic holy icon of Our Lady of Kazan is one of the most venerated by Orthodox Christians! The shoulder-length image of Hodegetria appeared in Kazan on July 8th, 1579, and after that the icon became the patroness of the Romanov emperor house and of all Russia. The Head of the Mother of God is tilted to the Divine Child, and it is this famous Kazan image has the largest number of replicas of venerated icons among other images of the Virgin Mary. People usually address this image when they come across misfortunes, hardships and diseases!
The Kazan planetarium is a unique place. It is the only complex of its kind in Russia, which was created at Kazan Federal University. It is located on the territory of V. Engelhardt astronomical observatory, occupying an area of 21 hectares. Opened in 2013, it is going to be a part of the future Astropark – scientific, educational and entertainment center.
The island town of Sziyazhsk is that same fairy-tale island of Buyan, that magical land which Pushkin wrote about in his story of Prince Gvidon. Everything on the island simply breathes history. People come here to enjoy the truly mythical atmosphere, learn more about history and admire the local architecture.
Kazan is closely associated with Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov-Lenin’s name. This famous Russian and Soviet state leader lived in Kazan for less than 2 years, but it was precisely this period of his life that defined his subsequent personality.
Lenin came to be the founder of Marxism-Leninism in addition to leaving impressive legacy in the fields of philosophy, political economy, as well as theory and practice of the socialist revolution. It was he who founded the very first socialist country on the planet – the USSR, which made a huge impact on the pace of the world history!
“The Great Bolgar” – this is how they often call this world-famous museum preserve, and rightly so. The site of the ancient settlement of Bolgar, registered by UNESCO and renowned for its history and legends, attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. There are indeed many good reasons to see this wonderful place.
In 2017 and 2018 Kazan is going to be hosting some world sport competitions: The 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 2017 Confederations Cup will be from the 17th of June until the 2nd of July, 2017.Six 2018 FIFA World Cup matches will be held in Kazan, including the round of 16 and quarter-finals.
The Old Tatar Settlement is the heart and soul of the historic part of Kazan. Its streets have been preserved since the Middle Ages and the whole place became known as the main preserve of Tatar urban culture. Dozens of architectural monuments have found home on the shores of Kaban Lake and Bulak Channel, right in the center of the Tatarstan capital.
A street four centuries long... This is how they call Bauman street – one of the most beautiful and crowded streets of Kazan. It is the place of all the main sights, restaurants, coffee shops, stores, entertainment areas for tourists. The street starts at the Kazan Kremlin and ends at Tukai square. It is 1920 meters long and it became a pedestrian zone as early as in 1986!
To genuinely appreciate magnificence and beauty of the eastern capital is possible only if you see it as a bird's eye panorama. And fortunately Kazan has such an opportunity! Equip yourself with a camera, good mood and start to conquer all peaks of our city!
The ancient mosques of Kazan are not just the historical and cultural heritage of our city or another landmark. In any city or region of the Republic one can admire marvelous ensembles of Muslim religious facilities that are indicative of the people’s spiritual renewal.
For more than a thousand years of its history, the white-stone, symbolic and legendary Kazan Kremlin has heard almost every language of the world and hosted common tourists, ministers and presidents alike. Imperious-looking and powerful, it calls Muslims to the prayer in mosques and at the same time lets Orthodox church bells ring loud. By becoming a home to numerous museums, it invites guests from all over the planet every day. This architectural and historic monument was rightly included in UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List as early as in 2000.